Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

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maybe11
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:37 pm

Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby maybe11 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:21 pm

Ok, so I am currently still in undergrad and I am double majoring in finance and accounting. I know, not a super common background, but I was (and still am) not 100% sold on law school, so I figured fin&acct was at least practical and I like business.

So I am not applying to law schools this year, but I am definitively keeping it in mind for the future. I have a 3.8 GPA right now and should graduate anywhere between a 3.7-3.9 (maybe 3.9+ if I really push it). Took a couple of diagnostic/practice LSATs and I got a 164 and 166. With prep and a good amount of studying I was told that I could probably get into the low 170s. I'd be pretty damn happy with a 170.


But anyways, I know the golden standard is kind of HYS and that would be nice but I am a white male with solid numbers but nothing spectacular.


I am also pretty worried about the economy/market for lawyers, so I'm shooting for big scholarship money since HYS is rather unlikely.

I've targeted a few schools and for the sake of argument lets just say I graduate with a 3.85 and finish with a 169-170ish LSAT. Softs include president of a decent sized club, in a selective consulting club that consults for non-profits, started a club, serving on a volunteer board, and a few others. Again, nothing spectacular.

USC
Georgetown
Texas
North Carolina
W&L
Tulane
Emory
Cornell
Berkeley
Harvard
UCLA
UVA
Northwestern
Stanford
Duke



I know that a lot of these schools I would not get big money at, and some in the second half of the list I barely have a prayer of getting in, but I'll give it a shot.

I guess my ideal choice would be USC with a hefty scholarship. Georgetown is a close second, but they apparently don't give much merit aid(this true?). UVA would be sick, but I'd probably be borderline getting in there.

Obviously Harvard and Stanford would be pretty nice haha.



So any advice? I'm interested in doing Constitutional/Civil Rights law if that makes a difference. Any other schools I should to my prospective/tentative list?


In general, how are USC and Georgetown with merit aid? Could I be in line for a big scholarship (half tuition and beyond?)



Thanks

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eaper
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Re: Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby eaper » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:33 am

lawschoolnumbers.com look around and compare going rates. Some of those places you should be able to get at least some money at, but realize that you will probably have to practice where the school you go to is. Other than that, study a lot for the LSAT. If you get mid 170s you'll have a shot at anywhere.

Sandrew
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Re: Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby Sandrew » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:06 pm

I'm a Georgetown 1L with a finance & accounting background who received significant scholarship offers from both GULC and NYU. I had significant non-legal work experience. See my profile for my full cycle.

For better or worse, your highest LSAT will likely figure centrally in merit scholarships. I scored in a similar range (mid 160s) on my first LSAT diagnostic, and got a 164 on my first proper sitting. I had self-studied while working full-time. I was shooting for a 170. My lackluster first performance proved to be a serendipitous disappointment. I retook 40 days after learning of my score, again self-studying, and improved significantly to a 177. Had I managed a 170 the first time around, I would not have retaken, and I'd be paying sticker at GULC today. The LSAT is deceptively amenable to practice, provided you practice honestly and efficiently. You have a finite number of practice tests. Use them wisely.

If you do well on the LSAT, you will be facing a happy dilemma: HYS at sticker or elsewhere in T14 with $$$. Should you be in this position, you will get lots of anonymous advice telling you to attend the most prestigious school possible. There may be some wisdom in that advice, but I would offer a more nuanced (if corny) view. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Presently, you face a different dilemma: whether and when to apply. Do some research now. TLS and LSN are excellent resources, particularly during the application process. But that's most useful once you've decided to apply. Before then (i.e. now), I recommend the following:

First, find out what JDs do. Hint: They do lots of things; not all of them entail practicing law. Even if you think you already know what these are, take some time and get a lay of the employment landscape. Try to talk to people who are working in these areas to get a sense of what their work (and lifestyle) is really about. Use google. For example, let's say you want to know more about BigLaw. Go read Above the Law. Query what it says, in a meta sense, about BigLaw practitioners--what motivates the people who write and comment there?

Next, decide if you want to do one or more of those things. Be honest. Consider what sort of lifestyle you enjoy. What makes you happy? Be mindful that You Today might make a mistake in assessing what will make You Tomorrow happy. You may conclude that you don't know what you want to do. That's okay. Even acknowledging that you don't know what you want is worthwhile. The more uncertain your future payoffs, the more importance you should place on optionality (you've studied real option theory, no?). Because the JD is a versatile degree, it's very attractive to those who don't know exactly what they want to do with it.

Next, if the JD is a possibility in the next few years, take the LSAT. Do it while you have time to study. A couple months of concerted effort should be plenty. Use TLS to figure out what different study strategies are out there, and pick one that works for you.

Finally, when you're ready to apply, use TLS and LSN. The people here on TLS can be snarky and they overestimate their own wisdom, but they are savvy about the application process. Crunch the numbers. Figure out how much debt, if any, you are willing to tolerate given what paths you haven't ruled out. Consider path-dependency. A debt-laden You Tomorrow may rationalize working in one of those fields that You Today swore you'd never pursue.

But, y'know, maybe I'm overthinking it. Just wing it, man.

maybe11
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby maybe11 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:07 pm

Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.

eaper, I have been looking at the numbers and I've read on here that a general rule of thumb is if you are above 75th percentile of both GPA and LSAT you have a pretty good shot at getting a big, big $$$$$ scholarship?


Thanks sandrew, that was really helpful. Congrats on the scholarship at GULC and that is encouraging to hear about with regards to the LSAT improvement.

I've done a little bit a research, but I still have a lot to do. For awhile I thought I was going to go to law school (while in H.S.) then as I got a littler older (H.S. seniorish age) figured that I would be better off going into business and shooting for my MBA down the road since the law market is/(will be for the foreseeable future) is shit and *I was not sure if I was 100% committed to law.* I've read if you aren't 100% committed/love the law, you shouldn't really be thinking about law school since starting out working BigLaw can be pretty miserable and if you don't get biglaw, you are really in a bind paying back those loans. Plus it's not as glamorous as TV and movies make it out to be.

So I kind of stopped thinking about law school and moved on. But something is drawing me back. I am fascinated by Constitutional law and love reading/learning about cases dealing with civil rights and think that working for an organization like the ACLU or SPLC would be awesome and very rewarding.

So, that is where I am kind of stuck. I would love to do something like that, work for a non-profit, take cases pro bono and help people that really need it. BUT if I go to a good law school and take on significant debt, I'm never going to pay it back since I'll be making pretty "meh" salary wise. But I'll have to read more into different LRAP programs at different schools.

I'm also not opposed to working Biglaw for a few years after graduating to pay off my loans and build a little nest. Of course Biglaw is pretty hard to get haha, so easier said than done.

But say I am able to land a biglaw, there would still be an opportunity to do constitutional law, right?

Lifestyle is pretty important. I'd like to have a family and actually be there for them, not just there financially. Money is of course something to think about but as long as I have enough to live a comfortable life and am able to provide enough for my family. Don't want to be working crazy 90 hour weeks when I'm 40 and have 2 kids or whatever.





So, I guess the tl;dr version of this is I'm pretty confused about my future. On one side I could go into business (really liking consulting) and could probably set myself up for a nice career in corporate America after getting my MBA that will allow for me to make a decent amount of money while having a pretty good lifestyle. Or I could go to law school (where I am feeling a push toward now) where I could make good money but also have a great opportunity to help people in life, which is kind of what I want.



Ahhh, well I have time to sort things out sort of and I kind of feel that I can't go wrong with either path I take but lately it seems like I've been "called" to law (as corny and ridiculous as that sounds haha).





Thanks everyone, any input is appreciated.

Sandrew
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:01 pm

Re: Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby Sandrew » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:14 pm

No problem, Maybe11. I like your earnestness. My candid responses and opinions below.
maybe11 wrote: I've read if you aren't 100% committed/love the law, you shouldn't really be thinking about law school since starting out working BigLaw can be pretty miserable and if you don't get biglaw, you are really in a bind paying back those loans.

I disagree with that conclusion (commitment-or-forget-it) for two reasons. First, the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises, for the option-theoretical reason I gave above. That is, those who don't know what they want to do, but who are open to several of the reasonably attainable options* that law school affords them, are the people who most stand to benefit from law school. *Note: Which options are reasonably attainable depends on (among other things, but chiefly this one) law school grades. And, alas, it is difficult to predict how well you will do in any particular law school.* Second, I reject both premises.

Of course BigLaw can be miserable. The conventional wisdom, confirmed by my limited research (a half dozen or so friends with five-or-so years of BigLaw practice) is that BigLaw is hard. The economics of the business are demanding of junior associates--entailing long hours and a motivation to maximize those that are client-billable. Furthermore, the lack of responsibility typically granted to junior associates can make those grueling nights feel pointless. But it can also be rewarding. Some people enjoy it for the camaraderie, for the challenge, for the opportunity to serve high-profile clients, for a sense of having "made it" (whether measured in dollars or, more usually, by affirmation of their intelligence and work ethic). I reckon most practicing BigLawyers waver between loving it and hating it. And plenty of them move on after repaying loans. BigLaw can be a gateway to clerkships, which itself can open many new doors.

Your second premise--that other-than-BigLaw jobs will leave you in a bind to pay off loans--is only half true. It can only be true to the extent that you have loans. Many top law schools (I believe all but HYS) offer both merit- and need-based scholarships. Yes, these are difficult to obtain and require excellent measurable numbers. [NB: Your rule-of-thumb is fairly accurate, in my estimation, for non-URM applicants.] But you cannot predict whether you will get a scholarship until you first take the LSAT.

maybe11 wrote:something is drawing me back. I am fascinated by Constitutional law and... civil rights and think that working for an organization like the ACLU or SPLC would be awesome and very rewarding.

Re: civil rights/ACLU/SPLC: Awesome! Seriously, that's commendable. But you're not the only one. I can't offer any useful information ACLU or SPLC hiring rates (or what they look for in a candidate), but I'm sure it's out there somewhere. Look around.

Re: Constitutional law, what does this means to you? Do you mean novel questions of constitutional interpretation (i.e. constitutional appellate litigation)? Or do you mean theoretical normative questions and empirical research (i.e. constitutional academia)? Or do you mean important, but run-of-the-mill application of settled constitutional law (e.g. first amendment trial-level litigation)? If you mean #1, that's a very small number of very well credentialed people (e.g. specialist partners at a small number of boutique firms). If you mean #2, that's legal academia, which means your best shot is Yale, then Harvard/Stanford/Chicago (tie for distant second). If you mean #3, then you're probably looking at something like ACLU or a BigLaw firm with a generous pro bono emphasis (I don't know much about these, sorry).

maybe11 wrote:I'll have to read more into different LRAP programs at different schools.

Yes. Do that. Pay particular attention to the section that specifies whether/when/how your (future) spouse's income is included in the calculation of the minimum monthly payment. Run some numbers. Figure out how what level of household income allows you to take advantage of the program's loan forgiveness, and to what extent you would be comfortable living at that level of income.

maybe11 wrote:say I am able to land a biglaw, there would still be an opportunity to do constitutional law, right?

An opportunity, yes. But not one I would recommend counting on.

maybe11 wrote:Lifestyle is pretty important.... Don't want to be working crazy 90 hour weeks when I'm 40 and have 2 kids or whatever.

Long-term predictions are unreliable. Whenever anyone asks me the "where-do-you-see-yourself-in-X-years" question, my candid response is, "I don't. But my goal is..."

maybe11 wrote: I'm pretty confused about my future.

That's normal. And healthy. "Certainty" about one's future is dangerous; it leads to reliance on a plan which is likely to be derailed. Stay sanguine, relax, and embrace your uncertainty.

Best of luck.

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eaper
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Re: Scholarships at top 25 schools, maybe lower end T14 schools

Postby eaper » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:24 pm

maybe11 wrote:Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.

eaper, I have been looking at the numbers and I've read on here that a general rule of thumb is if you are above 75th percentile of both GPA and LSAT you have a pretty good shot at getting a big, big $$$$$ scholarship?


That's probably a pretty good standard, but just one above the 75 and the other around median will usually be able to get you some decent money (at least from what I've seen in my cycle). I mean, with a 3.8ish and a 170+, you'll at least be around median for everywhere but YHS for GPA and LSAT, if not better. Above both medians will get you at least something at most schools. If you're looking for money, you should be able to get a decent amount at the lower T14s, at the very least. If you manage to get/keep your GPA up, and do as well on the LSAT as you think you will, I think you're biggest problem is going to be deciding between great money at one great school or another.




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